Zipporah Baldwin | Staff Writer
Mental health issues have attempted to snatch the crowns from the heads of black kings, especially through the struggles that only men of color face. Mental health and the black community are rarely associated with one another, but the time is now to address the elephant in the room.
“Mental health issues amongst black men are widespread and highly overlooked,” freshman Bryce McCain said.
Whether it is a past, present or future battle with overthinking, social anxiety, insecurity, self-rejection or depression, alongside other common concerns, take this as a reminder that you are not alone.
According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, “African Americans are 20 percent more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population.” This is due to discrimination, racial disparities and more.
“A lot of mental health issues that black men deal with come from discrimination,” said Andre Ray, a sophomore cybersecurity major. “The way that society has treated black men has had a traumatic impact on the way that black men think.”
Tradition says that women are the only individuals who harbor passionate emotion or show any sign of sensitivity. Despite what black social norms tell us, a man is not suddenly a woman simply because he makes the decision to address and resolve his own mental and emotional health matters.
Regarding the correlation between black men and mental health awareness, sophomore Steven Williams said, “There is none. The black man is misunderstood, especially in terms of communication. There needs to be more black representation in the mental health care industry.”
Remember these 3 B’s:
- Be YOU!
Why would you ever want to be anything other than the beautiful black king that you are? You are enough.
Others do not define joy for a black man – not family, not friends nor foes. So, cultivate the environment in which you desire to thrive.
- Be a conqueror.
Recognize the problem by educating yourself on what it means to be mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy. The resources are readily available to you; it is up to you to increase your awareness on how to identify, prevent and solve the issues.
Address the problem by doing what you can within your power to improve your situation. A powerful method is replacing all negative thoughts concerning yourself with positive self-affirmations. Your words contain power.
Consider embracing a confidant. Whether it’s your mother, sister, a counselor, a mentor or even a trusted professor – consider talking with someone that you trust. Never feel ashamed to seek a specialized health care professional who can provide you with the necessary assistance to move forward.
- Be a brother.
Once you have secured your black boy joy, consider sharing it with a fellow king. Sometimes, we are unaware of what goes on behind closed doors. Offer a word of encouragement today. A few kind words have the power to positively impact the course of an entire day.
It is OK to feel, it is OK to seek help and it is OK to not be OK, as long as you work toward bettering your circumstances.